I love new cards, and it seems to have been a while since the last one was released. This morning saw UOB announcing the UOB Absolute Cashback Card. Releasing a cashback card over a mile card during a pandemic when nearly all flights are grounded isn’t the most surprising thing, but what raises a few eyebrows would be UOB’s bold declaration of having no exclusions.
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This card is as simple as it gets: get 1.7% cashback on transactions charged to the card as long as it is not a NETS transaction. UOB even helpfully states some categories of spend that are typically excluded by other cards, such as insurance, school fees, healthcare… and most importantly: wallet top-ups.
1.7% is the highest unconditional cashback rate
1.7% is a strategic number: many unconditional cashback cards like Standard Chartered Unlimited, CIMB World MasterCard, and Amex True Cashback card offer 1.5% cashback, with the Citi Cash Back+ Card slightly edging out the competition with 1.6% cashback. 1.7% is again, ever so slightly better than 1.6%, and someone in the market for a no-frills card would pick the UOB Absolute Cashback card for the bigger number.
There is also the StanChart Spree to consider. It’s not technically an unconditional card, because it does require you to make payment either online or via Paywave to get its 2% cashback, but that is so easily achieved it really isn’t much of a condition. It also maxes out at $60 cashback, so that might also factor in your consideration, but for most people, the Spree should be better than this card aside from for large monthly expenditures… and topping up Grab.
1.7% cashback on Grab top-ups
The UOB Absolute Cashback card officially awards its 1.7% cashback on wallet top-ups, a rarity in the credit card world now. Most wallet apps don’t accept Amex to begin with, and thus the greatest use case for this would be Grab top-ups.
It’s been a year since Grab top-ups were unceremoniously gutted by both Visa and Mastercard, and to some extent Amex, leaving the aforementioned Amex True Cashback card as one of the rare few that gives any form of reward on topping up your Grab wallet. 1.5% cashback is pretty low, but pretty low is better than nothing at all. 1.7% is ever so slightly better than 1.5%, and I foresee the UOB Absolute Cashback card being popular for this.
In fact, coupled with Grab’s 6 points per dollar (1.2% rebate equivalent), you now get a not-too-shabby 2.9% rebate (1.7% on topping up, and 6 points/1.2% on spending). That’s a pretty good rate for very little fuss.
Rather interestingly for a cashback card, the UOB Absolute Cashback card offers its cardmembers a host of travel-related perks:
These include two complimentary memberships – FoundersCard and Tablet Plus – that give you travel perks like late check-outs and free breakfasts. Can’t complain about free stuff unless they’re useless, and these certainly look like they’d be pretty useful for staycations.
For customers new to UOB’s credit cards, UOB is currently offering a bonus 3.3% additional cashback on top of the 1.7% for the first $3,000 of spend, making for a generous 5% cashback rate. That 3.3% represents a $99 welcome gift which is relatively low compared to what some other providers tend to dangle in front of new cardholders.
Nonetheless, do check back to see if Singsaver has any added freebies to give away. Personally, I wouldn’t rush to get this card yet since I already have the Amex True Cashback, and I’d suggest for you to hold off if you can afford to wait.
Cards that one-up the competition are always welcomed, and the UOB Absolute Cashback definitely fits into this category. It is also refreshing that banks – or at least UOB – are cognisant that numerous conditions and exclusions on cards are too troublesome for a segment of cardholders, and play up the lack of exclusions in their marketing, even if it’s for a relatively low earn-rate card like this.
- Highest 1.7% cashback rate against similar cards
- Near complete lack of exclusions
- Officially works with Grab top-ups for a combined 2.9% rebate
- Useful added perks
- Does not support Apple Pay, Google Pay etc. What year are we in, 2011?
- The card design. What year are we in, 2001?